While sitting behind a desk, she wondered… How is a male dominant world any different than the one run by those considered “the weaker vessels”? She adjusted her glasses and blinked twice at the screen. Gary Oldman receives an Oscar for the best actor, but then again, Meryl Streep received an honorary one last year. If Elon Musk stands a champ in the commercial space program, then Susan Wojcicki (CEO, Youtube) holds the power to publicize it. If a J.R.R Tolkien book can make it to the headlines, so can an artwork of J.K Rowling. In a world where we live today, nobody is lesser than the other. That’s exactly how the world works in this modern era.

Fernanda Morris (38) is a housewife, blog writer, web designer, freelancer and a part-time abstract art artist. Just like many other women her age, she wonders where the Secret of “Success Hack” truly lies. She feels demotivated at times and wonders whether there is a world out there for women like her. While McDonald’s may be flipping its ubiquitous golden arches to commemorate women’s day, being a woman, she shudders at the challenges that still pose hurdles for women taking a walk down the female entrepreneurship lane? Let’s find out what some of the most enthusiastically successful women in the world of UX believe in!

Brenda Laurel

Gaming can be addictive, and in today’s day and age where everyone is connected, gaming is an ultimate realm of itself. While the male dominant force was busy shooting down aliens and space-crafts, Brenda Laurel became the first, among many famous female designers, to develop video games which cater to the needs of young girls, aged 8-14.

Brenda Laurel

Brenda believes in being a perfectionist. In her intuition, success comes when others follow in the same footsteps as she did.

“A design isn’t finished until somebody else is using it.” – Brenda L.

Brenda is a Ph.D. and a scholar. She is also a consultant, designer and a firm advocate of diversity. She has significant contributions to her name in some of the most renowned firms of our time, such as Apple, Citibank, Sony Pictures, Atari, etc. She truly earned her position as an expert in UX design. Brenda is also the proud co-founder of Purple Moon and the author of “Computers as Theatre.”

In one of her pieces about game development, she revealed some of the social challenges faced by modern girls. Here’s what she has expressed:

“We looked at play in general and we looked at social structures and how girls and boys might differ a little bit in achieving social status and same-sex groups, we looked at social problems girls that age were having, self-esteem issues, etc. But the other thing we learned from talking to girls, really, was that they had many, many needs and issues that we could address even more by representing characters who were like them, looking at situations that were like the ones they looked at, including their fantasy lives.”

Christina Wodtke

Christina Wodtke

Not many can claim to be as lucky as Christina Wodtke, as she successfully managed to juggle myriad executive roles in a wide array of tech industries. Having worked across multiple renowned platforms such as the Zynga.com and LinkedIn, she has earned her position as one of the most respectable women in the field of design and development. Leading an enthusiastic team, she also redesigned the Myspace platform!

Today, Christina stands tall as a business prodigy in the empire of women entrepreneurship. She holds a credible amount of experience in designing UX elements within the digital realm.

“You ask about the important things to keep in mind: same as ever, with a task-based twist: what are the users trying to accomplish, what does the business need them to successfully accomplish, and what will the technology allow? If you can balance these three forces, you’ll have a solid product.– Christina Wodtke

Christina has served as the co-founder and president of the Information Architecture Institute. She has also authored at Boxes and Arrows. She takes pride in educating vast masses on the importance of UX design through different publications.

When asked about how she tackles the challenges of gender discrimination in entrepreneurship, she replied with,

“J.K. Rowling was worried that male readers wouldn’t pick up a book about wizards knowing that it was written by a woman. Shall I try C.R. Wodtke, initials with no music to them? Or Chris Wodtke, the nickname I detest? Or Carl, the name I’d have been given if I was born a boy? Should I become a man?”

Catherine Courage

Catherine Courage

Her name resounds within the Silicon Valley, and if you are oblivious to Catherine Courage, you don’t know the real emblems of tomorrow. She has made it to the top by becoming a well-established author and an articulate speaker in the world of UX. Most UX developers draw their inspirations from her views on how one can enhance the virtual presence of their digital product.

In an interview with Adobe, she revealed her secret for success by saying;

“If I’m looking at a job description and I go, ‘oh boy, I’m not sure this is quite the right job for me’, then that’s probably a sign that it is something that I should be applying for,” – Catherine Courage

Courage is a name to contend with in Silicon Valley as she has been listed in the “40 under 40” in 2011’s Business Journal and the “Women of Influence” in 2013s.

When she was asked about how she responds to the modern day challenges that women are facing with each passing day, this is how she chose to respond:

“Too often I see women, in particular, have this sense of accountability that there must be something I’m doing wrong. It’s a great job — there must be something I can fix. Sometimes that’s not the case,” she said. “You should cut your losses and do something else as opposed to wasting years that aren’t fulfilling to you. My area of expertise in the tech market is design, and it’s strong and thriving. People are very sought after, and often forget that.”

Elizabeth Churchill

Elizabeth Churchill

Google has achieved a name beyond exception. It stands today as one of the most resourceful search engines with offerings that tell you just about anything that you are eager to search for. But what makes Google stand out among similar competitors on the market? It’s the seamless UX that adorns its façade and leaves the users in a state of euphoria. Being the Director of UX at Google, Elizabeth Churchill is the hand that creates that magic.

Her belief in the strength of persona far outweighs any other person on the market, and she strongly states;

“You should never work for anyone who does not have your best interests in terms of career growth at the center of their interaction with you.”

Elizabeth is professionally a social scientist and excels at polishing the human-computer interaction process. She has previously contributed to a significant number of programs at eBay Research Labs, Yahoo! Research, PARC, and Fuji Xerox’s Research Labs. Her aim is to create a gender equal environment for all female entrepreneurs.

In an interview with Fabricio Teixeira on the International Women’s Day, she says,

“There are always challenges when one is a member of a minority, and that is doubled when that minority is not the one which has had the institutionalized power for generations — i.e., sorry yes I have to say it….. Men.”

Irene AU

If you are wondering who designed the Internet’s first commercial web browser, the name is Irene AU. Irene started her design journey with some of the most prominent names on the market. She has served as a lead designer at Google, Yahoo! And Udacity. She has invested most of her time in optimizing how the internet works and how she can offer the most appealing appearances to websites.

Irene is a staunch believer in diversity. In one of her statements, she claims:

“Embrace diversity, not necessarily by filling quotas, but by really seeing the qualities that each individual can bring to the table.”

Starting off her journey at the Netscape, Irene designed the Internet’s first commercial browser as an interaction designer. She has literally helped in mentoring more than hundreds of designers, and with her designs, she has successfully influenced and covered an unprecedented chunk of the market. She has also authored, “Design in Venture Capital: How Design Drives Investment and Company Success”, which is a great book if you want to learn all about the robust design processes.

When she was asked about how she feels when it comes to gender discrimination in women entrepreneurship, she responded by asserting,

“The same day that UX Magazine published a QuickPanel on Women in Tech, featuring comments from Indi Young, Christina Wodtke, Brenda Laurel, and me, I had dinner with a high ranking executive at a large well-known tech company. When the topic about women in tech came up, he declared, ‘I would love to hire women, if only I could find ones who are qualified‘. This perspective is not surprising to me since so many others in this industry have expressed the same sentiment.”

Why Do We Believe that It is Important to Celebrate & Promote Women in UX?

Different women hold different beliefs when it comes to professionalism. With the modern day civilization advancing towards a better future, ladies have emerged with a new mental mind-set and taken a path towards making the world a more adjustable environment, not only in professionalism but in almost every walk of life.

According to Sarah Doody, Founder of UX Notebook,

“As the UX community grows, we must work hard to increase awareness of other women in UX because too many great voices and ideas aren’t surfacing in the existing community.”

A Durham-based UX consultant, Melissa Eggleston wants to work hard in the world of UX because she wants to create a better place for her little daughter.

She presents her insight on the matter by stating,

“Because my 5-year old daughter deserves to grow up in a world with products and services designed for her. Women bring important perspectives to design. We need the experience and skills of UXers of all genders,”

But, that’s not where the journey stops! We believe that the roots of UX go far deeper than just grooming the modern day environment for females. It is because teams governed by women simply tend to perform better.

“Many studies have shown that women tend to score higher on tests of social sensitivity than men do. This means that working with women makes a team smarter. Promoting women in UX raises awareness about the importance of gender equality. What makes a good user experience is a diversity in ideas, concepts, and experiences, and the more women working with UX.”

According to Mariah Hay, VP at Pluralsight

“Teams with women simply perform better. I’m no expert on this topic but there is lots of thought leadership out there on why this happens; from team psychology to empathic decision making, gender diversity is a true competitive advantage. I’ve personally experienced the difference and would encourage organizations to carefully curate their teams for diversity.”

As the era is advancing, so is the need for women to adapt to more state-of-the-art methodologies. The old stereotypical thought processes are falling into the murky depths of history. As much as the personal lifestyles have realized the importance of women in society, it is also necessary that they are given a fair chance to prove their worth in the professional sphere as well. In my observation, women are often considered a minority and their voices are left unheeded during business meetings.

However, what the male dominant corporate society has been failing to realize is that there are women that have created themselves as emblems and shining beacons for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. They have significantly parsed the thresholds of success and mitigated the stereotypical philosophies. With sheer determination and deep focus, they have proved that women aren’t the neglect of a society! Instead, they are the beacon of light that shines brightly. They can be the future of tomorrow! Happy women’s day!

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